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'Hunger Games' stars Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jacqueline Emerson say camaraderie took pressure off intense filming

Shooting “The Hunger Games” movie in a wooded area in North Carolina gave the set a summer-camp feel, stars Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jacqueline Emerson said in a recent interview in Dallas.
by Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: March 23, 2012

Hutcherson, Fuhrman and Emerson, 17, were in Dallas for an autograph signing and panel discussion at the Galleria. Fans lined up as early as 6 a.m. that day for a chance to meet them during the late-afternoon event, and hundreds waited for hours before their arrival. A mall representative said fan mail sent to the mall before the event filled several boxes.

The movie's status as a blockbuster continues to grow, as do ticket sales, which are tracking to launch “The Hunger Games” into the same status as movies such as “Dark Knight,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hutcherson said he thinks the story's theme resonates with people who are struggling in today's world, referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement and others like it.

“People are standing up and fighting against something that seems ‘unfightable,' and they kind of are given power when they feel powerless,” Hutcherson said. “And that's what this movie is all about ... giving power to people that seem to have none and ... giving hope in really grim situations.

“I think now more than ever people want to latch onto a story that has that kind of hope, just because times are tough.”

Emerson and Fuhrman both noted the strong heroine in Katniss to which people can relate.

“It's a story about what lengths you would go to protect the people you love and care for,” Fuhrman said.

‘Camp Hunger Games'

To prepare for the role, Hutcherson had to go on a high-protein diet and add 15 pounds of muscle to bulk up for his fight in the Games' arena. Fuhrman had to learn how to throw knives, a skill she said she hopes to keep up if she can find a place to do it.

In Dallas, Emerson, Hutcherson and Fuhrman laughed as they remembered crew members chasing away turkeys that had wandered into the scene during filming and a bear that charged Hutcherson's group while doing an interview. Luckily, the bear got scared before reaching them and ran off.

“Every day that we drove up there, we would all just look at each other and go, ‘This is work?'” Emerson said. “I mean, we're in the most beautiful place, and there's these gorgeous trees and this lake and animals and wildlife, which I love. And so, honestly, it did not feel like work whatsoever, hence the ‘Camp Hunger Games' theme.”

Hutcherson's thoughts echoed Emerson's, noting that he loves hiking and camping.

“Growing up in Kentucky, I was always playing in the woods and outside and using my imagination. I kind of do that now, but it's my career. And it's a pretty great one,” he said.